Roasted Pork Loin, Italian Style

Roasted pork loin says “it’s fall” to me. It’s also COMFORT food at it’s best!  And so easy to prepare.  The smell of rosemary, sage and garlic wafting through the kitchen as the pork is baking will make you happy that the summer is over.  I sometimes bake this pork loin resting on a layer of peeled and sliced potatoes and carrots (the photo above shows the pork loin on a roasting rack).
In Italy, roasted pork can be found in a food truck.  An entire pig is stuffed with herbs, roasted and laid in the large window of the truck. Slices of pork are taken from the side of the pig, placed in a hearty sandwich roll and wrapped in white butcher paper.
You don’t have to go to Italy for panino con la porchetta, you can just use your leftovers.
Market Style Roasted Pork
Arista di Maiale al’ Mercato
(from the book, In Late Winter We Ate Pears)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
8 to 10 fresh sage leaves
8 to 10 medium cloves of garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 3- to 4- pound  pork loin (shoulder or belly can be used)
Kosher or other large-grained salt
Extra virgin olive oil
Wine or waterPreheat oven to 375 degrees.Chop or process (in a food processor) together the rosemary, sage and garlic with several generous pinches of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.Arrange the pork in a roasting pan.  I use a rack in the pan, and if you want a complete meal, put peeled and sliced potatoes and carrots around and under the meat.  If you are using a shoulder or whole loin, make 3 inch deep incisions into the meat with a sharp knife, stuffing the seasonings into the incisions.  If using a pork belly or loin that has been butterflied (it lays flat) then spread the seasonings over the whole interior surface, roll up the meat and tie it with butcher’s twine.Season the exterior with salt, lightly blanketing the surface, drizzle the olive oil over all and add some wine or water to the pan, at least 1/2 inch deep.

Roast the pork for 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the pork reads at least 130 degrees (medium) on a meat thermometer.  As it roasts, watch the liquid in the pan, adding more if needed to keep the meat moist.  If the meat begins to darken to much as it browns on the outside, tent foil on top of the meat to prevent burning, although a certain amount of crustiness is yummy!

Once the meat is out of the oven, let it rest for about 15 minutes so that the juices can reabsorb into the meat before you slice it.  You can use the pan juices for serving the meat, or in the Italian way, drizzle olive oil over the slices when served.

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